The No. 11/15 University of Redlands baseball team hosted the Leopards from University of La Verne for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader on Saturday at the Yard. After dropping game one of the series just one day prior, the Bulldogs looked to rally at home to take two of three for the series win. With the help of two huge offensive innings and some costly errors by the Leopards' defense, Redlands captured a 13-9 in the opening game. Although the Bulldog bats came out swinging in game two with a total of 16 hits, Redlands eventually fell to La Verne by a final of 7-9.
Game one stayed scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when the Bulldog bats came alive for five-straight hits to start the frame, including senior outfielder Jordan Babbitt's (Highland, CA) two-RBI single that put the Maroon and Gray up by a score of 4-0. The inning continued with another Bulldog hit and eventually three-consecutive walks with one out to score two more runs. When all was said and done, the Bulldogs held an 8-0 advantage through the fourth.
Senior pitcher Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) climbed the bump for the Bulldogs and he did not disappoint. Stead allowed just one unearned run over five innings pitched while recording five strikeouts. Unfortunately, the bullpen immediately gave up three runs on two hits and two free passes to make it a four-run game.
The Bulldogs came to bat in the sixth inning and scored five runs of their own to push their lead back up to 13-4. With the help of multiple ULV errors and a few more walks, Redlands scored all five runs on just two hits in the inning, with the second one coming on an RBI-double by Babbitt for his third run-batted-in of the game.
Another tough inning for the Bulldog bullpen in the eighth allowed La Verne to score five more runs on four hits and three walks to tighten up the ball game at 13-9.
With two runners on and only one away in the ninth, Redlands turned to first-year closer Justin Yang (Fountain Valley, CA) to shut down the Leopards. Yang did just that by striking out the final two batters of the game to earn the save and secure the win for the Bulldogs by a final score of 13-9.
In game two, it was another senior pitcher taking the ball for the Bulldogs, as Noah Jones (San Bernardino, CA) made the start on the mound. Jones gave his team five complete innings, but the Leopards tallied five runs, including four earned, over those frames.
Redlands answered the Leopards' two-run top-of-the-first inning with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the frame. A triple off the bat of senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) delivered the first run, which was followed by an RBI-groundout by senior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino) for the 2-2 tie.
Following some back-and-forth scoring, the Bulldogs trailed, 4-8, after six-and-a-half innings, but they put another big dent in the Leopard lead by scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Back-to-back RBI-doubles by Babbitt and senior outfielder Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) pushed across two. Senior outfielder Nick Ono (Yorba Linda, CA) provided an RBI-single to cap off the frame and move the Bulldogs within one run.
Unfortunately, the Leopards tacked on another run in the ninth and held Redlands scoreless in the final two frames to hand the home team a 7-9 loss.
Despite knocking 25 hits and scoring 20 runs on the day, Redlands settled for the doubleheader split and a difficult, SCIAC series loss.
Babbitt stole the show by going 5-for-10 with one double, one triple, two runs scored, and five RBI on the day.
Redlands (25-9, 13- SCIAC) looks to bounce back on Friday, April 13, when it hosts the Tigers of Occidental College at the Yard. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.